Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No.

I don’t recall the last time I heard an album with as many jaw-dropping moments of what-the-fuckery as there are in the first song of Destrage’s new album Are You Kidding Me? No. The song in question is called “Destroy Create Transform Sublimate” (a nod to Meshuggah’s Destroy. Erase. Improve. perhaps?), and it goes from melodically-proggy Protest the Hero territory to clean channel jazz shred to what I can only describe as a prog breakdown, and then the dubstep comes in. What’s remarkable, though, is how organic the whole thing sounds—the disparate sections blend so seamlessly that it takes a minute to fully process how weird it actually is. And that's just the opening track.

I’m not certain I’ve ever heard a band quite like Destrage before, though there are certainly elements of other bands that I hear in their sound. In their quieter moments, they do remind me of the aforementioned Protest the Hero, but without that same kind of tight songcraft—when I think of PtH, I think of how they manage to write really adventurous but really catchy songs, and Destrage are far more chaotic. In their shreddier moments they remind me a bit of Umphrey’s McGee (and I know it’s mostly frat boys on E at UM shows anymore, but they are absolutely a prog band at heart). There’s some of the mathiness of Dillinger Escape Plan. There’s a lot of Colors-era Between the Buried and Me, too, but more spastic and a lot proggier. Basically, they keep things familiar enough to keep from completely running off the rails, but they never really sound like anyone but themselves. It's a delicate balancing act, and one they perform deftly.

My only marginal complaint about Destrage is with the vocals. Their singer mostly alternates between sounding like Stephen Pearcy of Ratt and Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth of Overkill, which doesn't always fit the music. There are so many fascinating things going on musically, though, that it’s really a minor complaint. This album absolutely kills, and if you like your prog chaotic and heavy you should really check out Are You Kidding Me? No.